Construction Site Injuries: When the Injured Party is Responsible

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Construction sites can be dangerous places, even for people who do not work on the job, however, contractors and manufacturers are not responsible for every construction site injury that occurs.  Sometimes the injured party can play a significant role in the cause of a construction accident, and in doing so reduce the legal liability of the owners and operators of the construction site.  If you have been injured in a construction site accident, but are concerned that your actions may reduce the money damages you are owed, consult an experienced attorney for assistance.

Construction Site Liability

Construction accident fault is complex, and can involve several parties including contractors, sub-contractors, machine manufacturers, owners of the construction site, and any of a number of parties who contribute to the cause or circumstances of the accident.  It is not uncommon that a error by the injured party triggers an accident, or makes the injury worse, and potentially liable parties will conduct a thorough review to uncover some common mistakes:

  • Improper Use of Tools:  Construction workers use dangerous tools that can cause injury, particularly if the tools are not properly used.  If a construction injury is caused by the misuse of a tool, then the injured party will be partially responsible.  
  • Failure to Follow Safety Regulations:  All construction workers are required to follow government safety regulations while on the job, and if the investigation into a construction injury reveals the injured party failed to follow the rules then they will share in the legal responsible.
  • Machinery Misuse:  Large machines, such as cranes and forklifts, have specific capacities or limitations that, and, if those limitations are ignored, serious injury can occur.  If the safety restrictions of heavy machines or equipment has been ignored, then operator error could shift the legal liability to the injured party.
  • Inadequate Training:  Many pieces of construction machinery and tools require significant training and government certification in order to operate.  If the injured party was not trained or certified, and used the machinery anyway, then they share responsibility for the accident.
  • Ignoring Warning Signs:  Pedestrians and other non-construction employees can also become responsible for injuries they suffer when walking or driving near a construction site if they ignore posted warning signs or fail to pay attention to construction workers guiding them around the site. 

Every construction accident injury case is closely scrutinized to determine if the injured party contributed to the incident, and to what degree that contribution shifts the liability from the owners or contractors running the site to the injurd party. 

Tip:  An injured party’s contribution to the accident will also influence the ability to collect insurance money.  If you are struggling to collect from an insurance company because of your role in a construction accident injury, contact an experienced attorney for assistance.

Proving Construction Injury Liability

Proving responsbility for a construction site accident can be difficult, and often require the use of experts who will evaluate the circumstances of the accident and suggest the parties who are responsible.  Attorneys in construction accident lawsuits often enlist the assistance of a construction expert to provide a report on the situation or to testify as a witness at trial.  It is common, particularly in high dollar injury cases, for each party to have experts analyze the circumstances and, occasionally, the reports of liability are conflicting.  In these cases a neutral expert may be called in to resolve the dispute, or attorneys, judges, and juries will have to make a decision based on the experts’ reports, the other facts of the case, and local law.

TIP:  If you have a construction accident case and have been accused of contributing to the accident, consult an experienced attorney or construction accident expert to evaluate the incident.  Large construction companies accused of causing an injury, and insurance companies considering a construction injury claim, will have attorneys on their side, and working with your own attorney can help level the playing field.

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